Following today’s closing Mass for the Fifth World Meeting of Families, Pope Benedict XVI announced that the next World Meeting, in 2009, will take place in Mexico City, Mexico.

The Holy Father, who also prayed the Angelus prayer with the million plus gathered for the Mass, thanked the thousands of volunteers who organized the current World Meeting in Valencia, Spain.  “I offer particular gratitude,” Benedict said, “to the numerous people and religious communities, who within their cloisters, have been present at all of these celebrations through their prayers.”

Shifting his focus to the next meeting in Mexico City, the Holy Father said, “I wish to express my gratitude, at this time, to the beloved people of the pilgrim church of Mexico, as well as Cardinal Norberto Rivera Carrera, Archbishop of the city, for their willingness to serve.”

There is much to do in Mexico City to prepare conferences, liturgies, presentations, and performances for the millions of pilgrims who are expected to flock to the event in 2009.